Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders affirmed his support for abolishing the Electoral College during a presidential town hall on Thursday night.
“It is hard to defend a system in which we have a president who lost the popular vote by 3 million votes, so the answer is yes,” Sanders said during the League of United Latin American Citizens town hall.
Sanders is the latest of Democratic presidential candidates to forthrightly draw attention to the electoral system’s shortcomings, joining the likes of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Cory Booker and Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
Sanders has long stood by his disapproval of the Electoral College. Following Hillary Clinton’s electoral loss to President-elect Donald Trump and popular-vote victory in 2016, the senator expressed his opinion that the system needed a reassessment, a position he recently affirmed in a Washington Post profile from earlier this month.
Clinton was the fifth candidate in U.S. history to lose the Electoral majority despite winning the popular vote, and the first since Al Gore’s loss to President-elect George W. Bush in 2000.
Lawmakers aren’t the only majority expressing their support for replacing the system. A Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) survey from July 2018 found most Americans would prefer if presidential elections were drawn by the national popular vote rather than the electoral body.
Keep in mind the pending status of the National Popular Vote interstate compact, the constitutionally conservative bill calling for the popular vote to determine presidency and ensure “that every vote, in every state, will matter in every presidential election.” As of July 2019, the compact has been endorsed by 15 states and acquired 196 out of the 270 electoral votes needed to go into effect.
If enacted, the bill would mandate participating states to award their electoral votes to the candidate with the largest popular vote across all 50 states and the District of Columbia, but as of now, red-state support is looking pretty bleak.
Let’s hope Bernie will start hashing out solutions to the electoral system on his new Twitch channel.
Check out Sanders’ statement below.